Monday, January 30, 2012

Weekly Digest: 1/29/12 – Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam, Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, Shakugan no Shana III

[SFWhine]_Last_Exile_-Fam,_The_Silver_Wing-_-_14_[720p][Hi10P][1FE0A95B].mkv_snapshot_20.32_[2012.01.28_17.24.59] [sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_16_[720p][10bit][F2599D59].mkv_snapshot_06.12_[2012.01.29_20.03.25] [Commie] Shakugan no Shana III - 16 [7CBCB4BA].mkv_snapshot_15.35_[2012.01.29_21.28.27]


Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 14
[SFWhine]_Last_Exile_-Fam,_The_Silver_Wing-_-_14_[720p][Hi10P][1FE0A95B].mkv_snapshot_04.08_[2012.01.28_17.08.34] [SFWhine]_Last_Exile_-Fam,_The_Silver_Wing-_-_14_[720p][Hi10P][1FE0A95B].mkv_snapshot_08.05_[2012.01.28_17.12.31] [SFWhine]_Last_Exile_-Fam,_The_Silver_Wing-_-_14_[720p][Hi10P][1FE0A95B].mkv_snapshot_10.44_[2012.01.28_17.15.10]
[SFWhine]_Last_Exile_-Fam,_The_Silver_Wing-_-_14_[720p][Hi10P][1FE0A95B].mkv_snapshot_13.43_[2012.01.28_17.18.09] [SFWhine]_Last_Exile_-Fam,_The_Silver_Wing-_-_14_[720p][Hi10P][1FE0A95B].mkv_snapshot_16.39_[2012.01.28_17.21.05] [SFWhine]_Last_Exile_-Fam,_The_Silver_Wing-_-_14_[720p][Hi10P][1FE0A95B].mkv_snapshot_18.36_[2012.01.28_17.23.03]

Believe it or not, I take no pleasure in the heaps of abuse Fam (the character, not the show) has been receiving lately. I really hoped she’d come around and vindicate her presence in the series.

The fully duality of Last Exile: Fam was on display this week.  We had a very interesting and subtle opening half that dealt with the aftermath of the devastation in Glacies, and the growing political unrest in Ades.  Following the eyecatch we had a Fam-centric second half that was every bit as stilted and clumsy as the first cour would have led you to expect.  If the show has improved at all lately – and it has – it’s because “Fam” has focused more in the big picture, and in the interior scenes given more focus to Millia – hardly character of the year, but certainly the best of the three mains.  But the reality is that Fam is the one with her name in the title, and the series is going to end up focusing in on her as it did this week – and take the whole show crashing down with it.  I wouldn’t put this week’s drag race on a par with the infamous hockey match for sheer irritation, but it was weak – and the entire sequence surrounding Millia and her feelings about her sister was infected by the fact that no scene involving Fam seems to be capable of producing any depth or subtlety.  I’m curious to see what’s going to happen with the revolt in Ades, what Luscinia is up to, and how having an Ades turncloak in their midst will help Glacies fight back.  I’m surely interested in seeing what will happen with Millia gets to Anatoray.  But as long as “Fam” has its titular anchor weighing it down, it can never really soar like Last Exile should.

Mobile Suit Gundam AGE – 16
[sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_16_[720p][10bit][F2599D59].mkv_snapshot_03.16_[2012.01.29_20.00.30] [sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_16_[720p][10bit][F2599D59].mkv_snapshot_05.46_[2012.01.29_20.02.59] [sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_16_[720p][10bit][F2599D59].mkv_snapshot_07.51_[2012.01.29_20.05.04]
[sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_16_[720p][10bit][F2599D59].mkv_snapshot_09.28_[2012.01.29_20.06.41] [sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_16_[720p][10bit][F2599D59].mkv_snapshot_11.33_[2012.01.29_20.08.46] [sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_16_[720p][10bit][F2599D59].mkv_snapshot_16.24_[2012.01.29_20.13.38]
[sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_16_[720p][10bit][F2599D59].mkv_snapshot_17.07_[2012.01.29_20.14.20] [sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_16_[720p][10bit][F2599D59].mkv_snapshot_18.25_[2012.01.29_20.15.38] [sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_16_[720p][10bit][F2599D59].mkv_snapshot_21.03_[2012.01.29_20.18.16]

That was certainly a brisk and bracing start to the second arc of “AGE”, full of new faces and old faces – old-looking, anyway – with new voices.  Our time skip is 25 years, and Flit is now now a 40 year-old military commander with a new voice (Inoue Kazuhiko).  He’s grown a bit of a soul patch and settled for married Emily, who lives with their two kids on a horse farm while Dad plots his vengeance against the Vagans (formerly known as the UE).  Flit seems like he turned out OK, but he does have that hatred thing going on, which seems to unsettle his attaché, Frederick Algreus (Koyasu Takehito).  As for the two kids, that’s our new hero Asem (Eguchi Takuya) and kid sister Unoa (Oogame Asuka).  Asem also has two pals in the “Mobile Suit Club”, Macil Voyd (sigh…Yuki Kaji) and Shawee (!) Belton (Ishii Kazutaka).  This being Gundam, he has to have a love interest, and her name is Romary Stone – played by, you guessed it, Hanazawa Kana.

Things really began to hot up when Daddy Flit pays Asem a visit for hit 17th birthday, and makes a gift of the AGE system without telling his son what it is.  Flit’s been keeping a lot of secrets from his son, including the fact that he’s been hiding the Gundam under the hay in the stable, under the watchful eye of Vargas who, despite surely being in his 80’s at least, still hops around like a pinball and eats like he should live in the stable himself.  Soon after Flit leaves, a mysterious transfer student arrives – Zeheart Galette (Kamiya Hiroshi).  I knew leaving Desil alive was going to bite Flit’s son, but it was nice of Zeheart to use his real name.  And soon after he arrives, the Vagans attack the colony – and Vargas gently pushes a willing Asem into piloting the Gundam to defend his home.

It’s hard to say just yet how this arc is going to differ from the first.  For his part, Asem is a little older than Flit was and seems a bit less angry and troubled – hardly surprising given the difference in their upbringing.  We’re clearly going to have the added element of father-son conflict as a part of this arc, and I’m intrigued by the many shots in the ED that appear to show Asem, Zeheart and Romary happily doing fun and family-approved teen activities as friends.  Since it’s clear from the ending of the first arc that the Vagans are victims no matter what that’s driven them to, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that generational conflict arise over the notion of a peace settlement with the Vagans, which Flit adamantly opposes but perhaps Asem (through friendship with Zeheart?) might support.  Asem also seemed none too happy when he mused that “Dad wants me to be a soldier.”

Shakugan no Shana III – 16
[Commie] Shakugan no Shana III - 16 [7CBCB4BA].mkv_snapshot_03.10_[2012.01.29_21.15.14] [Commie] Shakugan no Shana III - 16 [7CBCB4BA].mkv_snapshot_04.01_[2012.01.29_21.16.06] [Commie] Shakugan no Shana III - 16 [7CBCB4BA].mkv_snapshot_10.52_[2012.01.29_21.23.09]
[Commie] Shakugan no Shana III - 16 [7CBCB4BA].mkv_snapshot_13.45_[2012.01.29_21.26.37] [Commie] Shakugan no Shana III - 16 [7CBCB4BA].mkv_snapshot_16.39_[2012.01.29_21.29.54] [Commie] Shakugan no Shana III - 16 [7CBCB4BA].mkv_snapshot_18.27_[2012.01.29_21.31.42]

OK, how cute was it that Marchosias was wearing his seat belt?

It was certainly time for a breather episode, time for the protagonists to reflect on “getting their asses kicked”, as Sophie put it.  At least they had first class lounge passes at the Hong Kong airport, and that counts for a lot.  I know Shana’s speech was supposed to be inspirational and all, but I must confess I’m still not sold on the reason for continuing this fight – it still seems like fighting for its own sake to me (which is ironic, as Sophie points out that many of the flame haze fled the field and won’t participate in Shana’a nebulous plan because they’ve been fighting for personal grudges all these millennia).  Satou has rejoined the group for the final push – the exact nature of which we don’t know yet – as Sophie heads back to Zurich to take the fall for the defeat.  And the others head off to New York to try and talk the three surviving Earth Gods into helping.  Sounds like the plan is doomed without their help.

Looks like we may be in for a reflective period for a bit.  The second ED is full of shots of long-forgotten S1 characters, and Yuji’s parents have made a reappearance in the story, with his Dad (Fujiwara Keiji, if you recall) crossing paths with her unnoticed in Hong Kong.  The Snake of the Festival has announced he’s going to implement his Xanadu plan in Misaki City, where we head next week.  Then there’s the ever-mysterious Lamies, as always playing both sides.  We see that he gave Wilhelmina something called the Scroll of Secrets – which is vital to Shana’s plan – and that he has a meeting with SotF/Yuji in which some sort of new task is being given to him.  And what of those three folks on the farm in the mountains, who’d just received a summons from Bal Masque – and who was it inhabiting the body of the postman who found them at the end?


12 comments:

  1. *reads*

    ...

    *reads again*

    ?

    *ctrl-f: pheles*

    ...

    PHELES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    That is all.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Post title is missing Shana.

    The start of the second gen of AGE is really good. Nice to hear Gundam seiyuu veterans like Koyasu Takehito(though he's not playing a major role now), Inoue Kazuhiko and Kamiya Hiroshi(playing the cool dude and according to the OP, gonna be the obligatory villain with the mask like in every Gundam incarnation). Also nice to hear brand new seiyuus to the Gundam universe(KanaHana <3).
    Asemu looks pretty much forced into this war and I hope he finds his own conviction to fight. His fighting style reminds me of Shirou in FSN.
    AGE-2's design is just candy to my eyes as a long time Gundam fan. The design is just awesome. Hope to see it soon, especially as it transforms. But I guess we're stuck with AGE-1 for a while.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I dropped Fam a ways back, mainly because the lead grated on me far, far too much. I mention this now because I've been watching Lagrange this season, whose lead kind of reminds me of Fam in her over-the-top genkiness, but who somehow doesn't really bug me. I don't know why. It's puzzling. Perhaps she doesn't clash with the show she's in quite as much? Hm.

    Any thoughts on Fam vs. Madoka?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fam needs a Jersey and more MARU?

      Also, would it help if Millia went "Wan"?

      Delete
    2. I made that comparison in my head, Kenosha, so yes, Madoka made me think of Fam. Mainly as in, "Why doesn't Madoka annoy me as much as Fam does?" Part of it is context - Madoka's plucky cheerfulness is a batter match for the bright and airy tone of Rinne, vs. the somber nature of much of LE's overall plot - as you say, she doesn't clash as much. Maybe part of it is acting, too, but I'd also argue that Rinne simply has better-written dialogue than "Fam" does, though "Fam" is certainly the more intriguing overall plot.

      Delete
  4. Came here for Shana and what did i see?
    “Dad wants me to be a soldier" someone is picking after his mum.
    @Enzo: i don't think the postman is possessed. my theory is someone used an unrestricted spell on the letters. if the target touches it, it activates. so someone (e.g. bal masque, pheles) must have used a super ink jet printer to print all those letters to send to everyone in the world. and one of the letters hit the mark,
    @Kenosha: Fam is silly + genki. Madoka is genki first and silly second. madoka has a brain but she seldom uses it. Fam has only flying in her head, everything else is not used at all.
    Furthermore madoka has style. Fam is a brat doing whatever she wants.
    Madoka is more kawaii. Madoka is going to grow up to become something like her aunt, which is pretty cool.
    I rest my case.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thats pretty unfair to Fam. Yes, she is mostly focused on flying, but its what she knows and what she's good at. She leaves the heavy intellectual lifting to Gisey and Milia, precisely because she knows that she isn't cut out for that sort of thing.

      Not saying that Madoka isn't on balance probably a better character, but they are similar enough that its strange that Madoka isn't prompting the same visceral knee-jerk reaction that Fam got.

      Delete
  5. Maybe it is just the characters work well in certain shows only?
    I dunno, to me Madoka and Fam are pretty different. the similarities ends in their fight first think later and goofiness. Guess it is the vibe thing. Well just me talking.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The animation in Gundam Age seems to have improved. It's nice to see a lot of more mature looking characters, than in the previous arc with mostly just kids. Also the dual wielding swords was nice and the AGE-2 design is much better. I think I'm going to enjoy this arc much better. With stronger mobile suits and stronger enemies. The Father and Son conflict will most likely happen and I'm definitely looking forward to it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you Enzo. Your comment on AGE having kana has made me watch it. I am taking this ep as a whole new series and discounting the old season.

    ReplyDelete
  8. LOL, you're welcome. Here's hoping the character is more interesting than her mother.

    ReplyDelete